Flying …. with Children (insert that 80’s show theme song here)

We are fortunate enough to be able to fly away from our cold, small northern town to enjoy warmer climates a few times a year. As such my 15 month old has flown on 11 different flights in her short sweet life. It was a steep learning curve but we figured out what worked, what didn’t, and what REALLY didn’t as far as flying with an infant and a toddler. Here are the best tips I can offer:

1) Please remember what flying was like BK (before kids)

I remember the first time we flew with my daughter (who was only 6 months old at the time). We were THOSE people at the airport, you know the ones you secretly hoped you weren’t sitting anywhere NEAR on the plane. We had a 3 hour flight to Florida and I was praying to any and all Gods that my baby girl would be angelic and people wouldn’t even know she was there. I had a bottle packed just in case and had incredibly accessible clothing for breastfeeding on take off and landing. Well, luck was on our side… she slept 85% of the flight. The majority of the people sitting around us didn’t even know I had an infant in my lap.

Here’s the thing that I hope I never forget – most people do not fly with children. Most people are somewhat tolerant of a little crying/fussiness on a plane. Most people are able to drown out said crying/screaming/fussiness. Try to maintain enough composure and be prepared enough to for that 1% of the population that cannot stand to be around a fussy child in cramped quarters, basically assume that everyone in the pre-boarding area is praying that they aren’t sitting near you or your devil child.

2) Pack LIGHTLY

Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. On our first trip to Florida I had packed an entire suitcase for our 6 month old breast-fed infant. Bottles, diapers, formula … it was as if I was going to a country that did not have any baby supplies and we may have been stranded for days (I even packed bottled water for the formula in case I needed it).

Since our first flight, we gate check the stroller and I have a bag that sits in front of me with toys/milk/iPad/1 diaper & a small container of wipes – things that may be needed ON the flight – and my husband carries a second bag with the camera and other non essentials that we MAY need if we are stranded in an airport for an unforeseen amount of time.

The less in your hands the easier and less stressful your travels will be. I have also just started to take a back pack to check at the airport for my clothes & for my daughters clothes.

Have I made my point clear? You will want at least TWO hands free for when you’re traveling with an infant or toddler.

3) Travel MUST – HAVES (the buying part)

This is short , but sweet.

Dr. Brown’s reuseable microwavable sterilizer bags. These are good for 20 uses and awesome for sterilizing bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups.. pretty much anything that you will need to sterilize after traveling . (http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Browns-Microwave-Steam-Sterilizer/dp/B0035LQNNE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415925514&sr=8-1&keywords=dr.+brown+sterilizer+bag)

An easy folding stroller to gate check. I am a huge fan of Baby Jogger strollers. We have flown with both our Summit (huge wheels) and our City Mini. All gate attendees are basically amazed at how easy these fold down. It’s like magic. (http://www.babyjogger.com/product/summit-x3/)

Small holder for wipes – this is so you have an easily accessible, space saving device that you can reach for in a hurry. I had a few of these from bulk wipes we had purchased plus my diaper bag came with one as well. Kind of like this one from Oxo: http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Tot-Wipes-Dispenser-Green/dp/B00DQL6CIE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415925777&sr=8-1&keywords=wipes+case

A large purse: I have found that my extra large purse does well on a flight. I can fit my wallet, a couple diapers, a wipes dispenser, a bib, the iPad and a sippy cup or bottle just fine. This goes with my first rule that less is more. So either a large tote bag or an extra large purse. If you need an excuse to buy that big Kate Spade purse… Here it is! (but wait for their surprise sales… seriously great deals). Mine is along the lines of this one – http://www.katespade.com/sedgewick-lane-phoebe/PXRU4909,en_US,pd.html?dwvar_PXRU4909_color=001&cgid=ks-handbags#start=79&cgid=ks-handbags

I hope this helps any of you brave souls out there who are traveling… with children!

Does anyone else have some short but sweet traveling tips? Share them below!

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